The second class of inductees into the British Baseball Hall of Fame was announced on Tuesday 12 October 2010, and it saw five names join the three individuals elected in the inaugural class. The new figures are Alan Bloomfield (inducted under the Baseball players category), Margaret Borley (Coaches, managers, umpires, and other officials), Fred Lewis (Game builders), Sir Francis Ley (Game builders), and Gavin Marshall (Baseball players).
Alan Bloomfield, who was a junior footballer at Arsenal before committing to baseball, became one of the most consistently dominant ballplayers in the London area during the 1980s and 1990s. He appeared at more European Baseball Championships than any other Great Britain player and he was described by The Daily Mail of Hull in 1984 as â€œthe best British player ever.â€ Bloomfield was a member of the first two Great Britain squads to win gold medals in European Championship competition, the B-Pool victories in 1988 and 1996. In 1988, he was named the tournamentâ€™s Most Valuable Player. Domestically, he competed for the Sutton Braves, the Southern Tigers, and the London Warriors, and he posted outstanding batting figures year after year. In all, he played on six national championship-winning squads.
Margaret Borley was the first member of the British baseball community to receive Queen’s honours for work in the sport, being named an MBE in 2007. Borley founded one of the country’s most successful youth organizations, the Tonbridge Bobcats Youth Baseball Club in Kent. In over 30 years of service to British baseball, Borley has led the Bobcats to numerous youth championships and helped develop a number of future Great Britain internationals, including Alex Malihoudis, Nick Carter, and Will Lintern.
Fred Lewis established baseball in the town of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, in 1909 and taught and administered baseball until his death in 1960. For at least 48 years â€“ from 1912 until 1960 â€“ baseball was played continuously in Chipping Norton thanks to Lewis. Lewis, who was a local Scout master, found out about baseball in 1909 when he obtained a year-old baseball guide. He immediately became an ambassador for the sport, fashioning much of his baseball equipment by hand or through local artisans. Through his disciplined work ethic, Lewis developed excellent ballplayers. In 1926, a Chipping Norton team led by Lewis travelled to London to play a team of expatriates, called the London Americans, at Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge. Lewis’s all-British team prevailed in the match-up, which earned attention from the national press for his club’s performance.
Sir Francis Ley was Britain’s original baseball magnate. He was the first domestic businessman to make a committed effort to develop the sport, by establishing the country’s first dynasty team â€“ Derby â€“ and erecting its first authentic baseball ground. Sir Francis’s teams won national championships in 1895, 1897, and 1898. This was the most of any team in baseball’s first decade in Great Britain. Sir Francis also proved that baseball had the potential to be a commercial venture in the United Kingdom, attracting upwards of 5,000 spectators on a regular basis.
Gavin Marshall was the first born-and-bred British baseball player to earn a professional contract in the United States. He was also a successful member of the British national team and a national champion. Marshall, whose father Barry and grandfather Ron were stand-out players and coaches both in domestic baseball and for Great Britain, showed his considerable baseball talents at a young age. The Hull native made his first appearance with the Great Britain senior side as a 16 year old in 1993. Marshall earned a college baseball scholarship to Centenary College in Louisiana and then to the University of the Pacific. After his collegiate career, he signed a professional contract in the independent Frontier League with the Dubois County Dragons. He played for 2 years in American professional baseball, making 57 appearances. He continued his baseball career in style upon his return to Great Britain, pitching the Brighton Buccaneers to a 5â€“1 victory at the 2002 national championships.
The Board of Electors for the British Baseball Hall of Fame comprises individuals who have experience in researching the history of British baseball. This includes one seat for a representative from SABR UK (the British chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research). An additional seat is reserved for a representative from the board of the British Baseball Federation as an acknowledgement of the governing bodyâ€™s endorsement of the project.
New classes in the British Baseball Hall of Fame are announced annually, on the second Tuesday in October. The inaugural class was revealed on 13 October 2009, with induction requiring at least six â€œyesâ€ votes from among the eight Electors. The Board of Electors grew to ten in number in 2010 and the threshold remained as six votes.
For biographies of all the inductees to date and other details on the British Baseball Hall of Fame, please visit the official website: www.bbhof.org.uk.